Things to Know if Charged with a San Diego Assault
There are multiple types of assault in San Diego, some of which entail more severe penalties than others. If you have been charged with a San Diego assault, you will want to learn about the law and the criminal process.
This article will provide you with information you should know if charged with a San Diego assault. Because assault law can be quite complex, you should consider hiring a San Diego criminal lawyer. A San Diego criminal defense attorney can explain your rights, assess your case and provide you with legal guidance.
What Is San Diego Assault?
Whether you were charged with assault in Chula Vista, Oceanside, Escondido or another part of San Diego County, you should understand how assault is defined under the law.
According to the California criminal code, assault is when you have the ability and attempt to violently injure another person. Because you only have to attempt to injure someone, you can still be charged with a San Diego assault even if no actual physical contact takes place.
Assault can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor is a lesser crime that usually entails a penalty of less than a year in jail. A felony is a more serious crime that usually entails a penalty of more than a year in jail.
Types of San Diego Assault
There are multiple types of assault in San Diego, ranging from a mid-range misdemeanor to a serious felony.
The most basic form of assault is called simple assault. This crime occurs when someone willfully uses violence or force against another. Simple assault can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. It is up to the judge's discretion and will depend on the details of the crime. The potential penalty for simple assault is a fine of up to $2,000 and up to six months in jail.
If you allegedly assault someone with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, you will face felony assault charges. Deadly weapons include such objects as a knife, a bat or even a car. To receive this charge, you must assault someone in a manner that is likely to cause great bodily harm. This crime is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to four years in a state prison.
If you commit assault with a firearm, you will also receive severe punishment. Under the law, you do not have to use the firearm in a way that could cause great bodily harm. Instead, just possessing the firearm can elevate the charges. Punishment includes up to a $10,000 fine and up to four years in a state prison.
Sentences can be further increased if the assault took place on school property or if the victim was a police officer.
San Diego Assault Defenses
As part of the San Diego criminal process, you and your San Diego criminal attorney may be able to enter into a plea agreement with the prosecution, the party tasked with proving your guilt. A plea agreement is when you agree to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for a lighter sentence.
If you do not reach an agreement or if you would prefer to prove that you are not guilty of the assault, you and your attorney can assert a criminal defense. There are a number of criminal defenses available to you in an assault case. The type of defense you use will depend on the circumstances of your case and your lawyer's advice.
Examples of common assault defenses include:
- Self-defense: This defense does not necessarily dispute the details of the alleged assault. Instead, it argues your physical force was justified because you were protecting yourself or someone else from imminent harm. To assert self-defense successfully, your attorney will have to show force was necessary and the amount of force used was reasonable.
- Inability to commit the assault: To commit assault, you must have the present ability to commit the violent act. If you do not have the ability to commit the act, you are not guilty of assault. For example, if you threaten to shoot someone but do not have a gun, you do not have the present ability to shoot someone. However, you may be guilty of the crime of criminal threats.
- Wrongfully accused: You and your attorney can also attempt to claim you were wrongfully accused. Perhaps you were a bystander to an assault who was accidentally pegged as the perpetrator. Or perhaps someone falsely accused you of committing assault.
The best defense for your case is a matter to discuss with a San Diego criminal attorney. Attorneys.com can connect you to a lawyer near you. Just fill out the form on this site, or call 1-877-913-7222. After answering a few questions, Attorneys.com will provide you with the contact information of at least one criminal lawyer in your area. The lawyer will contact you within two business days, or you can reach out to him at your own convenience.